These last two weeks since GPP I've become obsessed. No... not with Twitter or even more so with my ongoing iPhone dependency, thank goodness, but with light. Everywhere I've been in the last 14 days, I can't help but analyze the lighting. I'm finding myself staring at spots of sun and following them to the sky. Or skimming my eyes along the beam on a magazine sitting on a table and quickly spinning around to see where it's coming in from. I am noticing the halo glimmering off a head of blonde hair, as it's little owner is bouncing around at the pool. When I walk into a grocery store, gym, school, I am looking up to see what kind of bulbs are illuminating the area.
I am not reacting this way on purpose! It's become sort of this strange compulsion that I don't even realize I am doing, but probably will end up making me a much better photographer as a result! I'll happily deal with some odd looks I may get while I'm standing, staring mindlessly at sun spots, if it means starting to use the gift of light to it's fullest capacity.
When we were in the fabric souk area in Dubai, we were in an alley most of the time. The light was quite contrasted when it did come in... shot in like a beam rather than covering us like a blanket. I saw this flight of steps and was taken by how the light was so strong at the top... kind of like a beautiful and heavenly passageway, rather ironically located on a set of very filthy stairs!
I think the first time I *really* noticed light at the workshop, I had just walked in the fruit and veg market. I looked over and saw this beam of gold blasting thru display of various veggies. When I look at this photo now, I wish I had exposed better for the tomatos. On the other hand, the market is relatively covered and can be a bit dark in some places so I felt lucky to see this stray sunbeam!
And lastly, the squid. Or, I think they are squid. They were really wet and slimy and something I would not eat in a million years! But they had an ideal location on an outside aisle of the fish souk. The sun made it's way in and transformed something fairly ugly into something really glittery and almost abstract! All natural, no strobe or studio lights... just God given sunshine!
I've read a lot about light in the last few weeks as I am trying to set up my studio. Which kits to buy, what would work best with the room I have to work with, which radio transmitters to buy to set off said light. There's so much out there on created light, it's overwhelming actually. I haven't found nearly as much on natural light. I think it's because, in general, we take it for granted. Plus, everyone knows you probably won't get a great photo if you take it in the dark! So even someone who has just picked up a camera, knows something about it's relationship with light. Learning to harness the light that we typically see, without really noticing, is how to separate your self from the pack. Especially in Abu Dhabi, where the sunshine is so consistently bright, I will be investing a lot of time working on making it work for me the best I can. In all three of the photos above, the light makes them more interesting. An evenly lit veggie stand is not all that striking, and dirty, cracked cement stairs are far from interesting. Gross slimy squid are just that! Sunlight transforms them into the best versions of themselves. I love that photography and natural light work together to make something maybe less than glamorous, feel special in print!